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How to Cite a PDF

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You’ve found the best source ever, but it is a PDF. Don’t overlook it just because you are unsure of how to cite it. Find out how to cite your PDF in your references, no matter which style you are using.

Citing a One Author PDF

Setting up the citation in your references for a PDF is similar to an e-Book or a digital document. However, depending on different variables, like number of authors, this can vary for each different style. No matter what, you’ll include the elements:

  • Author(s) name
  • Title of the work
  • Date of work
  • Creator
  • URL
  • Medium (optional)

The order these are in might be jumbled but this is the basic information you’ll need for all styles.

Examples

  • APA: Doe, J. B. (2010). Disease and lifestyles [PDF File]. New England Journal of Medicine 14(8). Retrieved from www.nejm.org.
  • MLA: Murphy, John A. How to Cite the Bible. Messiah College, 2011, https://www.messiah.edu/download/downloads/id/1647/bible_cite.pdf.
  • Chicago: Reilly, Dan. Relationships. PDF file. September 25, 2017. www.relationships.com/amazon.pdf.

 

Multiple Authors

Multiple authors will make the setup of your first section unique. How unique will depend on the number of authors.

APA

If there are seven or less authors, you include all the names with a ampersand (&) instead of and.

  • Doe, J. B. & Dina A. B.

For PDFs with more than seven authors, you will include no more than seven authors with an ellipsis before the final author.

  • Ann, A.B., Bam C. D., Verry, L. L., Harry, A. A., Stan, J. A., Thomas, S. T., . . . Roberts, L. H.

MLA/Chicago

MLA format will us an (and). For three or more authors, you’ll add the et al.  

  • Two authors: Charles, Carl A., and Barry Jackson.
  • Three or More: Charles, Carl A. et al.

No Author

Having an author is one thing, but sometimes there isn’t an author for informational texts. Style guides dictate in this situation that the title will become the first line.

  • APA: Disease and lifestyles [PDF File]. (2010). New England Journal of Medicine 14(8). Retrieved from www.nejm.org.
  • MLA: How to Cite the Bible. Messiah College, 2011, https://www.messiah.edu/download/downloads/id/1647/bible_cite.pdf. 
  • Chicago: Relationships. PDF file. September 25, 2017. www.relationships.com/amazon.pdf.

Perfect PDFs

Citing PDFs can be hard. But with the right tools, you can make these digital documents cited perfectly. Have fun perfecting your PDF citation.

Bibliography.com Create and learn about bibliographies, citations and reference lists.